‘All about the Music’ for Lulu
It’s certainly been an incredible career for Scottish pop-rock queen, Lulu and, after six decades in the spotlight, she’s recently concluded what was the biggest tour of her career which is ‘All About The Music.’
Debuting with ‘Shout’ in 1964, Lulu went on to release the first of fourteen studio albums, ‘Something to Shout About’ the following year before embarking on a glittering and successful career at the top.
That rise included three television series’ throughout the sixties and seventies, and credits in eight films including, most recently, Ab Fab: The Movie, where she played herself and starred alongside Emma Bunton, Kate Moss, Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders among others.
There’s the small matter of a Eurovision success back in 1969 when, alongside Spain, Netherlands and France, her performance on ‘Boom Bang-a-Bang,’ earned a four-way tie success and, in doing so, became one of only five artists from the United Kingdom to win it.
And she’s performed a Bond theme song, The Man With The Golden Gun in 1974, for added wow factor!
“Six decades is amazing!” began Lulu.
“You know the weird thing is I have to say “It’s really been that long?”
“They say time passes really fast when you are having fun and I could apply that to me. It’s happened without me even blinking because this is what I live for, I live for music.
“It’s a blessing in my life.”
Beginning back in the early sixties, venues were somewhat different to modern day music halls around the country.
Everyone begins somewhere though, even if it does include making history and being one of the first female artists to play in the old Eastern Bloc as a raw teenager, supporting The Hollies in ’66.
“It was a theatre or small hall and I was very, very young and I sang ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ and I forget the words,” explained Lulu of those early beginnings.
“I just repeated the first verse and I wanted to die, but nobody mentioned it afterwards.
“I thought it was the worst thing I had done in my whole life; I was probably about 6.
“What I do remember is I had a sticky-out frock and I think I was so pleased with myself that the excitement affected my memory.
“I also remember going to a really dirty club to see Alex Harvey when I was just about 13.
“I don’t know if that was my first show but I was not allowed to go to those places because I was so young, but my mother wangled it so I could go.
“I used to sing in a band at the weekends, so the boys in the band had to look after me.
“Alex came backstage dressed in black leather and jet-black hair and he sang ‘Shout’.
“It was the first time I ever heard it and I went out the next day and bought the record by The Isley Brothers, and the rest is history.”
Then, in 1966, behind the old Iron Curtain, and Poland, with The Hollies, on the band’s tour.
Even looking back now that specific period in her life haunts her to this day, adding: “I was with The Hollies and it was scary.
“It was cold, the place was very run down and there were bullet marks on buildings.
“There was debris and there was a lot of poverty.
“It was also memorable because when we did the concerts there were guards all around watching the audience, so they didn’t stand up or get excited.
“When they started to get excited the guards slapped them down.”
Ever since those early days in the music industry Lulu, a big name herself has found herself working with, and performing on, the same stages as some of music’s leading lights.
Since the release of ‘Shout’ she has found herself side-by-side with a host of talent as well as releasing singles with Bobby Womack, Take That, Sir Elton John and Ronan Keating, to name a few, and, although she does still want to do more, she has been prone to a bout of shyness or two during her career – just ask Frank.
“I met Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas and he asked if I made it a habit to warm up my voice and if I did vocal exercises before a show, which I didn’t back then.
“I was there with Maurice (Gibb) and Frank offered to teach me, but I never followed it up because I was too shy.
“And then, of course, I went off and hurt my voice, so now I am religious about looking after it. So, yes, Frank, I eventually took your advice.
“I guess I’m also blessed with a lot of energy, and I think if you are healthy you have a lot of energy.
“Some people love it and some would prefer you to shut up and sit down.
“It’s all about how you use your energy for the positive, and as you get older it’s about pacing your energy – and for that I do meditation and Chi Gong.”
Even modern day music influences the youthful Lulu, a number of current stars on her ‘bucket-list’ of whom she’d like to perform alongside, and even more she finds inspiration from and listens to.
“Bruno Mars, Calvin Harris, and I’d love to do something with Steven Tyler from Aerosmith,” claimed Lulu.
“I know a lot of people my age sit around and listen to old music but that’s not what I do.
“I listen to lots of stuff, old and new.
“The new Lady Gaga record is great, I love Zayn Malik, Adele, Rihanna, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Sigma – and I think Beyoncé has done something that no other black female has done; she is a consummate entertainer.
“I just get so excited by so many artists. I also love Paolo Nutini – Paolo is the real deal; he’s a real blues singer.
“I also think Calvin Harris is doing the most unbelievable work. There is so much I enjoy.”
As far as retirement goes through, Lulu is at that grand young age, she’s not looking at rolling out the knitting yarns anytime soon.
“No I could not (retire)!
“As far as I am concerned, I don’t work anywhere near the way I used to because it was compulsive then.
“Now I choose everything I do and I am as busy as I want to be – and as busy as anything.”
By Peter Mann for Glasgow Eyes.